Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Christopher B. Jones
Despite the existence of land use and environmental protection policies designed to provide guidance on land development, some projects can still be contentious. As the number of Muslims and mosques in the United States are increasing, little is known about the problematic conditions that Muslims may experience when attempting to site a new mosque, community center, or cemetery. The purpose of this study was to develop a deeper understanding about the experiences and perceptions of those involved in the failed siting of a controversial mosque, community center, and cemetery project in a U.S. West Coast state. The multiple streams framework was used to examine the problem, politics, and policy streams that occurred throughout the case. The research question addressed the key elements that led to community protests and the ensuing state lawsuit. A qualitative case study design was used to analyze literature, news reports, government reports, and the loosely-structured interviews of 15 purposefully-selected community stakeholders. The interview data were coded and categorized for thematic analysis. Results indicated that navigating the politics stream was especially difficult for the mosque applicants because they did not anticipate much resistance and were unaware of community members' concerns about water table contamination. Implications for positive social change include providing policy makers with insight into conflict that may arise in the siting of a mosque, community center, or cemetery and potentially reducing conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims.